Ad Astra

Critics Consensus

Ad Astra takes a visually thrilling journey through the vast reaches of space while charting an ambitious course for the heart of the bond between parent and child.

83%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 339

40%

Audience Score

Verified Ratings: 8,971
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Movie Info

Astronaut Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) travels to the outer edges of the solar system to find his missing father and unravel a mystery that threatens the survival of our planet. His journey will uncover secrets that challenge the nature of human existence and our place in the cosmos.

Cast

Brad Pitt
as Roy McBride
Tommy Lee Jones
as H. Clifford McBride
Ruth Negga
as Helen Lantos
Donald Sutherland
as Col. Tom Pruitt
Loren Dean
as Donald Stanford
John Ortiz
as General Rivas
Greg Bryk
as Chip Garnes
Kimberly Elise
as Lorraine Deavers
Anne McDaniels
as Shunga Hologram
LisaGay Hamilton
as Adjutent General Amelia Vogel
Kimmy Shields
as Sergeant Romano
Ravi Kapoor
as Arjun Dhariwal
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News & Interviews for Ad Astra

Critic Reviews for Ad Astra

All Critics (339) | Top Critics (46) | Fresh (283) | Rotten (56)

  • For most of its running time, Ad Astra amounts to a rather somber and sterile two-hour orbit.

    Sep 27, 2019 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • This is slow, obtuse filmmaking with little emotional connection.

    Sep 23, 2019 | Rating: C | Full Review…
  • In a mesmerizing, minimalist performance, Pitt forms the gravitational center of a film that takes its place in the firmament of science fiction films by fearlessly quoting classics of the genre (as well as those outside it).

    Sep 20, 2019 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • To lavish too much praise on Mr. Pitt's performance would be to somehow suggest he isn't already among the best actors on screen. He is.

    Sep 20, 2019 | Full Review…
  • The film's geography takes us on a cross-solar system journey but the real trajectory is deep into the human experience - finding meaning in life and coming to grips with being left behind.

    Sep 20, 2019 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Gray has a gift for shrinking massive set pieces and enlarging private dramas.

    Sep 20, 2019 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Ad Astra

  • Oct 02, 2019
    GRAY MATTERS - My Review of AD ASTRA ( 3 1/2 Stars) Over the past twenty-plus years, James Gray has established himself has a world class filmmaker with such titles as Little Odessa, Two Lovers, The Immigrant, and The Lost City of Z in which he has mastered what I like to call the calm, dreamy epic. His latest, Ad Astra, blends the slow, quiet pacing of 2001: A Space Odyssey with certain themes and plot points from Apocalypse Now and Contact, and a little Terrence Malick abstractness, yet remains a unique science fiction experience of its own. Starring Brad Pitt as Major Roy McBride, the film, which was co-written by Ethan Gross, follows Roy on a journey through space to locate the source of a series of power surges which have threatened our planet in the not too distant future. It has been suspected that Roy's father Clifford (Tommy Lee Jones), who has been presumed dead, is actually alive and has gone rogue, sending these surges to destroy the Earth so he can continue to search for signs of intelligent life in the universe. The film uses a clever voiceover device in which Roy takes daily psychological oral exams to prove his worthiness for the mission. He can remain calm under the most dire of circumstances, such as in the thrilling, vertiginous opening sequence, keeping his heart rate low. He's the perfect person to find his father, since he's so disaffected. Damien Chazelle's First Man explored similar themes but left me cold, whereas Ad Astra, as lumbering and internal as it is, moved me. We learn in flashbacks that Roy has a strained relationship with his wife, played by Liv Tyler. He can't connect or engage. His trip to the far reaches of Neptune includes stopovers on the Moon, which has been commercialized, and Mars, long stretches in which we experience Roy's isolation or watch him go through a series of tests to see if he can handle the ultimate showdown ahead. Were it not the for eerily evocative score by Max Richter, the clear beauty of Hoyte Van Hoytema's (Dunkirk, Let The Right One In) cinematography, or Brad Pitt's soulful stillness, I would have found the second act to be a huge bore. Sure it has its share of set pieces such as an exciting lunar chase sequence, a scary baboon attack, and a brief yet amusing cameo by Natasha Lyonne as a sort of Mars Walmart Greeter/harried bureaucrat, but it's mostly contemplative. The real story gets told on Pitt's face, a wellspring of emotions as he, like Willard, goes up a river of sorts to confront his own Colonel Kurtz. Basically, plotwise, you could jettison the entire second act and still have a coherent story, but then you'd miss out on a seductive, woozy film experience. As the film moves along, it peels back the noise of its build-up to bring us a long-awaited confrontation with a Dad he hasn't seen in decades. I won't spoil what happens, but the film brings up issues of "Deadbeat Dads", the need to connect with others, or the narcissism which prevents that from ever happening. It takes a while, like space travel, but it arrives at something profound and human in the end. Those expecting another Gravity will want a refund. It's definitely right on the edge of boring, but the craftsmanship and level of performance keeps it aloft. James Gray makes films about humans who want to push themselves to their limits to discover who they really are, and as such, he's a rarity. I'll follow his career to the moon and back…or even further. In this era of popcorn, slam bang overkill, it's refreshing to see a filmmaker and star take their time and give us something different.
    Glenn G Super Reviewer
  • Sep 29, 2019
    A somber, slow burn of a space oddity, "Ad Astra" has the visual allure, meticulous technical merrit and central performance of a future extraorbital classic of the sci-fi genre. It's frustrating however that Director James Gray's talents couldn't have better served his muddled narrative, breathtaking albeit disjointed (and honestly tone shattering) action sequences, and an emotionally hallow final act that can't make up for the rocky road prior.
    Michael P Super Reviewer
  • Sep 26, 2019
    #AdAstraMovie is quite a trip... the meaning of which will undoubtedly be debated for years a la 2001. It may not be as good as 2001 but is better than #Interstellar. It'll win Oscars. Definitely worth seeing. My only quibble -- didn't need moon pirates.
    Joe S Super Reviewer
  • Sep 22, 2019
    The Sci-fi genre has always fascinated me the most in terms of cinematic experiences. Whether you're talking about though-provoking movies like Blade Runner or something as extravagant as Star Wars, there is a wide range of stories to explore. Ad Astra marks the most recent major studio Sci-fi release and it's absolutely a winner in my books. There's so much to admire here. I went into this film with slightly high expectations, simply due to the talent involved, and I was not disappointed. Here's why I believe Ad Astra is worth a trip to the movies if you're not feeling tired. Ad Astra follows Roy McBride, an astronaut in the near future, as he ventures through space in hopes to find his father, who has been missing for years. Along the way, more secrets are uncovered and even deep emotional stakes are explored. Now, this premise seems like your average rescue mission, but it's definitely not that in the slightest. Yes, the movie takes you on this journey, but it really asks you to sit back, enjoy some breathtaking visuals, great sound design, a wonderfully immersive score, and a central character in Roy, who Brad Pitt commits very strongly to. All of these elements are fantastic and I never found myself bored, but the pacing of this movie is intentionally very, very slow, which I fear will turn off some viewers. At two hours, this movie isn't very long, but it can feel it at times. Other than that, I think what this movie sets out to accomplish is done to near perfection. I was completely immersed in this world and the slow pace almost had me in a trance. I would highly recommend seeing this movie when you're wide awake, because the great score, complemented by a slow pace, will probably make some viewers doze off. As aforementioned, Brad Pitt leads this film and demands your attention. Everyone knows that he's one of the best out there today, but it's always nice to see when a great actor goes the extra mile in terms of committing to a character. Through his performance alone, I truly cared about the final act of this movie and where certain events ended up. The way he exerts himself and becomes Roy for these couple hours was brilliant. In the end, I seem to be boasting about this film endlessly in my mind, but I simply can't state it enough. For such a simple premise, the visual effects, score, emotional impact, and overall study of this broken character, I loved every minute of Ad Astra. It's a very relaxing viewing experience, so be wary of getting tired during this movie, but I found that to actually be a positive here somehow. Ad Astra is one of the best movies I've seen this year so far.
    KJ P Super Reviewer

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